Coronavirus: RNLI expanding beach lifeguard cover

coronavirus rnli expanding beach lifeguard cover - Coronavirus: RNLI expanding beach lifeguard coverImage copyright Andrew Segal
Image caption There would usually be lifeguard patrols on 240 beaches across the UK and Channel Islands

The RNLI is planning summer lifeguard cover at more beaches after saying staff were only to be at 70 in the UK.

It paused its roll-out programme in March amid measures to control the spread of coronavirus, and said in May it would not be at its usual 240 sites.

The charity said it was now planning a “more comprehensive” service but did not confirm at how many beaches.

Plans also depend on no further virus spikes or “reintroduction of [lockdown] restrictions”, bosses said.

The charity has been facing calls to increase cover in the UK and Channel Islands after several incidents during the recent sunny weather, including two people dying in incidents in Cornwall.

Chief Executive Mark Dowie said at that time, restarting the full service in a pandemic was not simple as staff needed “time to train and prepare for ever-changing medical directions about what we can and can’t do on the beach”.

The RNLI said it was now “planning to maximise the number of beaches we can put lifeguards on in the fastest possible time” and “provide a more comprehensive lifeguard service this summer safely, despite the continuing challenges created by the pandemic”.

It said it had been testing “new ways of operating” and was reassuring everyone that “we can accelerate and expand our plans.”

RNLI lifeguards have already started working on an additional beach in Cornwall.

They were due to be patrolling only seven beaches in the county, starting on 30 May, but increased it to eight.

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